Presupposition and accommodation: Understanding the Stalnakerian picture

Philosophical Studies 112 (3):251 - 278 (2003)


This paper offers a critical analysis of Stalnaker''s work on presupposition (Stalnaker1973, 1974, 1979, 1999, 2002). The paper examines two definitions of speaker presupposition offered by Stalnaker – the familiar common ground view, and the earlier,less familiar, dispositional account – and how Stalnaker relates this notion to the linguistic phenomenon of presupposition. Special attention is paid to Stalnaker's view of accommodation. I argue that given Stalnaker's views, accommodation is not rightly seen as driven by the presuppositional requirements of utterances, but only by the interests of speakers in eliminating perceived differences among presuppositions. I also consider the revisions which are needed either to the definition of speaker presupposition or to the definition of sentence presupposition in light of the possibility of informative presupposition. In the concluding section, I discuss the ways in which some recent accounts of context and speaker presupposition depart from their Stalnakerian foundations.

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Mandy Simons
Carnegie Mellon University

References found in this work

Studies in the Way of Words.Herbert Paul Grice - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Scorekeeping in a Language Game.David Lewis - 1979 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 8 (1):339--359.
Inquiry.Robert C. Stalnaker - 1984 - Cambridge University Press.
Assertion.Robert Stalnaker - 1978 - Syntax and Semantics (New York Academic Press) 9:315-332.

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Citations of this work

What is Presupposition Accommodation, Again?Kai von Fintel - 2008 - Philosophical Perspectives 22 (1):137--170.
Formulating Moral Error Theory.Caleb Perl - 2022 - Journal of Philosophy 119 (5):279-288.
Pornography and Accommodation.Richard Kimberly Heck - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (8):830-860.

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